Brothers in arms;( from l to r) Aminul Islam, Suresh Navaratnam, Venkatapathy Raju, Rumesh Ratnayake, Iqbal Sikander and Haris Abu Bakr at Kinrara

ACC Development Officer for Malaysia Aminul Islam was able to call on a little help from his friends and colleagues Venkatapathy Raju, Rumesh Ratnayake and Iqbal Sikander last week as an intensive training session for the Associate Member's pool of bowlers was held. Selangor’s Vimalan Palaniandy said, “I have never had to work so hard in so short a period of time before, I think my game has improved a lot.”

Rumesh Ratnayake took Vimalan through his paces for two days at the Kinrara Oval nets, and had the young prospect discover the virtues of a grooved run-up for the first time. “What I emphasised to all the bowlers is how all bowlers at the top level have the best possible ‘gather’ just before release. A good ball starts with the feet, goes up through the body and ends with the hand and wrist,” says the former Sri Lankan fast bowler.

Rumesh lays it out for the fast bowlers

Venkatapathy Raju and Iqbal Sikander mentored their batch on the craft of slow-bowling. “Make them play on the front foot, get them driving, buy a wicket if you have to,” said the veteran Pakistani leg-spinner’ “relax, relax, relax” is what the evergreen Raju emphasised, taking a particular shine to the prospects of young left-arm spinner Kogilan Muthu. Kogilan delivered ball after ball under the 35 degree near vertical sun, around 200 in all over four hours, Raju directing the teen through the subtle processes by which a batsman could potentially be beaten in the air and off the pitch.

Iqbal Sikander and Venkatapathy Raju explain their craft

Malaysia’s national coach Roy Dias, as well as other local coaches Bilal Asad, Haris Abu Bakr, Rakesh Madhavan and Suresh Navaratnam were on hand to support the ACC Development Officers at Kinrara. “The important thing for these young bowlers to realise is that as good as they may be, from now on
Aminul and Raju in animated discussion
things can only get tougher. Batting gets better as you move up age-groups and senior international competition levels and if a team is to win a match it almost always depends on the bowlers,” says Aminul. And The ideal bowler? The ACC Development Officers were in agreement: a spinner with a fast-bowler’s aggression, a fast-bowler with a spinner’s craftiness.

Malaysia’s next international cricket is the ACC U-19 Asia Cup in December, while the national team play Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 5 in the first quarter of 2014.

Some pictures by Ahmad Sufalil

Asian Cricket Council Development Program

Filed September 30th, 2013